|Mater's Big Adventure|
The Cars franchise conquers the globe, in this new installment of the hit Disney/Pixar animated movie Cars, Cars 2!
|Directed by||John Lasseter (Director's Note: That's me!)|
|Produced by||Denise Ream (Director's Note: She financed the whole movie for me, including the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream.)|
|Screenplay by||Ben Queen (Director's Note: This guy helped me write the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream.)|
|Story by||John Lasseter (Director's Note: Me again! There were actually two other story writers on this movie, but they aren't me, so I don't care about them.)|
Lawrence the Cable Repairman|
|Music by||John Williams's best imitator, Michael Giacchino|
|Cinematography||Some intern who played with the hue sliders on Blender|
|Edited by||We put it in Final Cut Pro and waited for about nine hours.|
|June 24, 2011|
|Budget||Whatever Disney needed to launder that day.|
|Box office||Ⓜ559.9 million (gross measured in "Mater-Bucks")|
Cars 2: Mater's Boogaloo is the 2011 sequel to Disney/Pixar's hit animated film Cars. Set in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic cars with eyes in the windshield instead of the headlights, the film sees lovable silly tow truck Mater and smug race car superstar Lightning McQueen heading to Japan and Europe to compete in the Mater Grand Prix, where Mater becomes sidetracked in a super-secret spy story!
In crafting Cars 2, director/co-writer John Lasseter and co-writer Ben Queen (the real-life Lightning McQueen) drew inspiration from such beloved children's movies as The Phantom Menace and Kazaam, though even those movies didn't feature anything as spectacular as the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream. But what's often overlooked in a film like this is the behind-the-scenes creativity and artistry that's been squeezed out of some of the best and brightest animators from Emeryville, California. The cars almost look real in Disney 3DTM, and even the wasabi, from the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream, is lovingly rendered.
Cars 2 has received critical acclaim and is universally adored by everyone under the age of four, with much of the praise going to the subtlety and philosophical depth of the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream. Clearly this animated film has been a massive commercial success, making over half a billion dollars in worldwide box office gross and over ten billion dollars in merchandising. Statistically, half of all the world's bodies of water have at least three (3) tons of Cars merchandise floating on the surface.
Director's Note: Hello, readers! I'm John Lasseter, director of Cars and Cars 2, and I would like to say "Go buy this film"! All of us at Disney/Pixar worked very hard on this film, and it's available now on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital download! This is a good movie, I like this movie, and I hope it'll entertain your family as it has mine! I like this movie.
Plot[edit | edit source]
|Mater approaches the sushi bar.|
|Mater searches the bar for free food.|
|Mater sees the wasabi and thinks it's pistachio ice cream.|
|Mater interrupts his friend Lightning McQueen while he finds some water to rinse out his giant car tongue.|
|Mater rinses his tongue while the crowd looks on in disgust.|
Join your friends from Radiator Springs, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and TOW MATER© (voiced by cerebral comedian Larry the Cable Guy), plus a whole new cast of characters as they travel the world to race in the Mater Grand Prix! Meanwhile, watch Mater like you've seen him before, as he becomes a secret agent and fights a mysterious syndicate led by the dastardly Professor Zündapp (Thomas Kretschmann)!
The scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream[edit | edit source]
At around 24:30 into the movie, before the Mater Grand Prix race in Tokyo, Mater goes into a sushi bar in search of free food and approaches the Japanese bartender-car there.
Mater approaches the sushi bar[edit | edit source]
You see the green backdrop of the bar, which already foreshadows the wasabi that Mater thinks is pistachio ice cream. You see the bartender with a cart of sushi side dishes. Wasabi is green, and green also represents greed, an important theme in Cars 2, as the fossil fuel-loving villains are motivated by their greed to sabotage organic fuel solutions. Rule number six of Pixar's twenty-two rules of storytelling says: "What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal with it?" Mater is clearly out of his comfort zone, out of his element in this luxury sushi bar. But despite his problems interacting with the brave new world around him, Mater stays the same old lovable tow truck we met back in Radiator Springs. Clearly, the artsy iconoclasts at Disney/Pixar know how characters work, how to play with their own rules, and how to bend our expectations as an audience.
Mater searches the bar for free food[edit | edit source]
We see Mater search the sushi bar for some free food. In the Cars universe, fuel is used as the food source for automobiles, so within the rules of this world, cars wouldn't need to eat human foods like sushi or wasabi. We can assume that this bar serving sushi is even more of an extraneous luxury than it already is in real life. In just a few seconds, we can already see the striking contrast between Mater's rustic country upbringing and the bourgeois attitudes of the other cars. This scene shows more of the thematic complexity and fish-out-of-water dynamic we expect from the creative geniuses at Disney/Pixar.
Director's Note: Did you mention the thematic complexity? Disney wants you to mention thematic complexity. Okay? Thanks.
Mater sees the wasabi and thinks it's pistachio ice cream[edit | edit source]
This scene is by far the most pivotal moment of the entire movie, and shows some of the most beautifully crafted animation ever put on the big screen. Mater confuses the wasabi with the similarly colored but radically different-tasting pistachio ice cream. This scene, like every other scene in every Disney/Pixar film ever made, is an extended metaphor on lost innocence and maturity. We've all come to expect pistachio ice cream when we're young, and nothing at the surface level says that life will be any different when we're older, but all of a sudden we get hit with the pungent, nasal-inflaming taste of wasabi, and we're forced either to escape from this struggle or find some way to cope with the consequences of growing up. Mater learns a valuable lesson: life is a duplicitous whore, and no one can be trusted.
Sir Axelrod ends up being the villain of the film, and like the wasabi at the sushi bar, he comes across sweet and innocent, but when push comes to shove his heart is black as an uncleaned intake. Sir Axelrod is a satan, the worst villain in a children's film since Adolf Hitler, and we have Mater to thank for saving us. And we have the animation pioneers at Disney/Pixar to thank for making this great movie.
Mater interrupts his friend Lightning McQueen while he finds some water to rinse out his giant car tongue[edit | edit source]
Now Mater has realized his mistake, and he drives away from the sushi bar screaming, looking for anything to rinse out the bits of wasabi stuck in the tastebuds of his giant automotive tongue. This is another great example of the gut-wrenching, gut-busting, "I can't breathe!" physical style humor we've come to expect from the insanely clever jokesters at Disney/Pixar.
Director's Note: Hi, I'm John Lasseter, director of Cars and Cars 2, and I wanted to tell you what I think of this scene. I like this scene. Larry liked it, Owen liked it, I showed them the storyboards and they burst out laughing! We were all laughing! We spent at least three minutes laughing. I like this scene.
I remember spending some time with my family at a sushi place in Burbank, and I ate some wasabi, and here's the kicker, I was wondering, "This looks like pistachio ice cream, which I like, but it isn't pistachio ice cream!" And since I was working on Cars 2 at the time, I called our screenwriter Ben Queen right away, and I said, "I have this amazing idea for this scene for Cars 2, meet me at the office ASAP." So Ben and I, we got all the animators together, who are geniuses by the way, in the storyboard room, and I showed them some preliminary sketches, and they all just started laughing. But then they stopped, and I thought, "Maybe this scene isn't as funny as I thought."
I guess Brad Bird knew what I was thinking and he said, "No, John, they love it, but they're thinking, they're digesting the scene, they're getting ready to animate it. Don't you see their hands quivering? That's them imagining how their hands will move once they animate this scene." And we just sat there for an hour, just thinking, feeling this scene, and feeling this film too.
Mater rinses his tongue while the crowd looks on in disgust[edit | edit source]
Although comical, this scene also represents the growing divide between Mater and Lightning, and how their friendship has been frayed by their differences. Disney/Pixar has done it again, seamlessly blending slapstick comedy with deep and introspective character development. No one else in the industry has done this, no one else has made a joke about wasabi. None of Pixar's competitors know how to. Pixar rules supreme in the animation world. Who else but the eclectic deviants at Disney/Pixar would think of a scene like this? Who else can mix the comic and the dramatic, all while developing the characters and exploring their psyches? Who else masters both technology and art? Not DreamWorks, that's for sure.
The rest of Cars 2[edit | edit source]
Mater, with the help of secret spy/seductress Holey Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) and secret agent Fin McMissile (Michael Caine), uncovers Sir Axelrod's evil conspiracy to discredit organic fuel and saves the day!
Cast and characters[edit | edit source]
Director's Note: You know, I really like the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream. Sometimes I wake up at night after dreaming about the scene, from different angles, you know? Like one time I was the red car to the right of Mater, and one time, I was even the sushi chef. I had a dream that I was the wasabi, and I was inside Mater's intakes. It felt very intimate. I'm really proud of this scene. I'm at boardroom meetings or working on some storyboards, and I think of that wasabi scene, and I just start to smile. And people ask, "John, why are you smiling?" and I say, "Nothing," but I think they know. I think they know I'm proud of that wasabi scene. I like that scene.
And we did some good work on that scene too. I had a vision of what I wanted seen, the lighting, the models of the other cars, the attitude of the sushi chef, and did you know that the guy who voiced the sushi chef actually worked at Disney/Pixar? Daisuke Tsutsumi, or "Dice" as we'd call him, I met him, and I said to him, "I have a vision of how I want this scene to go, and I want you to voice the sushi chef." He said it was an honor, and that's how I know that I made a good scene. I really like this scene. The animators, some of them complained, and for awhile I had some negative feelings towards them, I called them nodogooders and quitters, but I let it go. It's been a real experience working on this film, and the wasabi scene, wow, I can't stop impressing myself, you know?
I work with some of the best animators in the industry, and for the wasabi scene, they exceeded my expectations, I gave them the outlines for how I want the colors to work, the density of the wasabi, the way the sushi chef's knife arms glint under the ceiling lamps, I thought up of everything, and I was scared thinking "Maybe they won't get it right, maybe this scene will take too long to make, maybe Disney wants the scene cut" but when the animators showed me the final product I just clapped my hands, that's what I did for the whole fifteen minutes. I mean, this scene is important to me, I thought it up when I was with my family. And they did great.
Can we talk about the cast? I typed out everything you wanted me to say about the scene, we barely got into the rest of the story. I mean, there's a lot of jokes I can do here, like, "Oh, no, they had to drag John Turturro into this?" or something like that. They won't notice that this is all an ad for Cars 2, but we should really talk about something else.
Director's Note: Hi, I'm John Lasseter, director of Cars and Cars 2, and no I still want to talk about the wasabi scene, I like that scene. It is a good scene.
- Owen Wilson voices Lightning McQueen, a haughty yet good-hearted race car. Wilson had previously voiced the character in the first movie, and began recording for Cars 2 after spending two weeks in a hospital recovering from the grief of filming Marley & Me—
Director's Note: Give me the keyboard or you're fired. Don't start crying, I'll just be a minute.
- Larry the Cable Guy voices Sir Tow Mater KBE, an all-American tow truck from Radiator Springs who serves as the film's top billing voice actor. In Cars, Mater was just a sidekick to Lightning McQueen, but after the success of our Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales series, we decided to give him a lot more screen time for the next movie. Clearly it worked, as children everywhere loved the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream. I like that scene. It is a good scene.
- While voicing Mater, Larry had to rehearse by consuming inordinate amounts of wasabi, screaming and crying all while he was recorded. They couldn't keep him in the recording booth for long since he'd run away every time we brought out the wasabi, so sometimes we had to follow him around with a mic, throwing gobs of the green goop at his direction. We got the best screams out of him when the wasabi got to his eyes! Our studio engineers had went through a few hundred takes of Larry eating wasabi, burning his eyelids and screaming in pain, when the head honchos at Disney stepped in and said "Jesus, John, Larry's had enough. Move on or we'll cut the cord on this thing."
- I was bitter over the suits' decision, but you know what they say about filmmaking: "It's all about compromises." Luckily, they gave us a few more weeks with Larry at the recording booth. God, we must've went through gallons of the green stuff. Larry cried for hours, but I'm immensely proud of that scene, and don't forget it, so I know those were tears of joy.
Alright, monologue over. You can have the keyboard back, but please try to talk more about the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream. I like that scene. It is a good scene.
Production[edit | edit source]
Cars is the second Pixar film to have been turned into a hit franchise, the first being Toy Story. The director of both Cars films, John "Dress Up as Elsa or You Work In the Cafeteria" Lasseter (the white guy you see standing behind Hayao Miyazaki in the picture), said that the concept for Cars 2 came to him while he was traveling the world promoting the first film:
|“||I kept looking out thinking, 'What would Mater do in this situation, you know?' I could imagine him driving around on the wrong side of the road in the UK, going around in big, giant traveling circles in Paris, on the autobahn in Germany, dealing with the motor scooters in Italy, trying to figure out road signs in Japan.
I kept thinking, 'If Mater saw some wasabi in a sushi bar, he would probably confuse it with pistachio ice cream' and other funny situations like that. I wrote all the ideas down that I had for some funny Mater situations, and I told the animators to draw it on the computer, and then that's how we made Cars 2.
— John Lasseter, 2012 interview with Mater Monthly
It took the render farm deep inside Pixar's studio in Emmeryville over a year to render the film. The wasabi scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream took almost three weeks to render, due to difficulties in simulating the physics of an emulsified horseradish mustard color dye mix with Pixar's animation software. Animators initially protested due to the technical difficulties and wanted to replace the wasabi scene with a different scene where Mater's exhaust sputtering is compared to a fart, but Lasseter really wanted the scene in the film. At Disney/Pixar, nothing stands in the way of a director's vision. "I wrote it down and I told the animators to put it in the computer, and that's what I wanted," said the director. "Larry liked it, Owen liked it, and I like it." Eventually a fix was found on time, and Lasseter's vision shone through.
The film was originally slated for a 2012 release, but was pushed forward a year to coincide with the summer vacation release of the Disney/Pixar's Cars: Surfin' Mater special in 2011.
Director's Note: I would like to say that I don't like the caption that you put on my picture with acclaimed Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki. I know that Disney wants you to blend in with this webzone and promote this film, but I don't like your caption. Miyazaki, or as I call him Miya-san, is a dear friend of mine and a friend of Pixar, and I don't like your joke. Miya-san is an inspiration to all of us working in the animation industry and is always welcome to visit our headquarters at Emmeryville, California. Please stick to talking about the wasabi scene, I made this scene and I like this scene. Thank you.
Merchandise[edit | edit source]
For Cars 2, Disney/Pixar signed an exclusive deal with Mattel and Hasbro to produce toys based on the series' characters.
Director's Note: Here is a nice picture of some merchandise that Disney, in association with its toymaking partners worldwide, have made for Cars 2! They made a toy out of the scene that I made with the great animators working with me at Disney/Pixar. Look! There's two sushi chefs instead of one. Disney's really spoiling the kids with this toy. I bought this online and gave it to my grandniece, and she said, "Thanks, John Lasseter," and that's how I know I've made it: when I can make a child smile with the gifts I've given them. I hope I've made your children smile too with my film, Cars 2, and I hope I made them laugh, especially that scene where Mater eats the wasabi and starts heading towards the waterfall! Classic.
I really like the scene where Mater mistakes the wasabi for pistachio ice cream, and it's really cool seeing it in 3D! You can order this toy now on Amazon and on Disney's official store. I've bought at least two dozen of these toys to give out to the children. I hope this toy will make children happy. I even made my grandnephews show the toys off at show-and-tell!
Reception[edit | edit source]
Animation fans all over the globe have hailed Cars 2 as the best Disney/Pixar sequel of Cars ever made. It holds a 109% approval rating on aggregate review site Matercritic, based on 205 Mater-sanctioned reviews, with an average score of 10.0/10, making it the first Pixar film to garner a unanimously "fresh" certification. Its consensus reads: "Cars 2 is as visually appealing as any other Pixar production, and all that dazzle just adds to the spotless storytelling under the hood, especially the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream."
"Pixar has done it again! 2 and 3/4 stars!" said the Boston Tribune. "My son loves this film!" said James O'Hailey, a man with a five-year old boy he thinks is his son. "He really likes the scene where Mater thinks the wasabi is pistachio ice cream. He just watches that one scene all day." Despite this, some dissident critics suggested that films like Cars 2 are a sign that ever since Disney bought Pixar (now Disney/Pixar) in 2006, Pixar has been focused less on making good animated films for all-ages and more on making "moralizing, saccharine pieces of scrap metal starring the likes of Larry the Gimmick Redneck and Owen Pill Poppa," claims noted contrarian Armond White of National Review. "It is capitalism with a human face," said Slavoj Žižek, when prompted to talk about this hit Disney/Pixar sequel. "It is poorly-made propaganda for the Fukuyama-esque 'post-ideological' ideology, peddled to unsuspecting toddlers and the toddler-like minded and so on. Capitalism, and by extension Disney, has collapsed into a cycle of cheap cash-grabs based on merchandise and nostalgia for merchandise."
Director's Note: This makes me angry, and I just want to say that these critics are naysayers, haters, and morons. Anyone who wants to talk smack about Disney/Pixar should go to my estate in Glen Ellen, CA and say it to my face. I'm John "Harasslin'" Lasseter, I'm not afraid of you. I'm not afraid of your words. I wrestled in college. The wasabi scene? That was a work of subtle genius, I'm telling you right now. You better respect it.
On second thought, give me back the keyboard, the readers have to know my Mater story. It's a matter of life and death.
Dude, you have more ego issues than Uwe Boll. Why can't you accept the fact that your movies are bad and you've lost your tou—
Director's Note: Listen here you brat you should be grateful that you can talk to me, I make the junior animators at Pixar blindfold themselves when I'm walking around because they're not worthy, they know they're not worthy to look at me but you 'viral marketing' shitstain think you can go against what I have to say? Give me the keyboard right now.
Seriously, get off your high horse. Finding Dory? Toy Story 4? The Incredibles 2? Cars 2 (and now Cars 3)? All you've done is turn Pixar into another Disney cash cow, squeezing money out of its bovine teats through merchandising and sequels and cash-grabs until the brand is run into the ground. You're a sellout, you can't tell me what to d—
Director's Note: I said GIVE IT.
Franchise and sequel?[edit | edit source]
|Where is God?|
|I was in space but I could not see.|
|The face of divinity within the blackness.|
|Where is He? I cannot find Him.|
|He is nowhere.|
I don't want to talk about that, I want to talk about the scene where Mater mistakes the wasabi for pistachio ice cream. I want to talk about that scene.
Where is God?[edit | edit source]
I talked to the animators about the color palette, they said, "Yes, John Lasseter, we love blues and greens, we love the Earth." I made Cars 2 to save the Earth from pollution, and look, the sushi bar is blue and green like our planet. This is my crowning testament, my magnum opus, this was supposed to be my small contribution to the world, but the philistines at Rotten Tomatoes gave my movie, my wasabi scene, a 39% rating. Thirty-nine percent. They're ignorant little plebeians, all of them, and when Iger and I are through with them they'll be sorry they ever even looked at any of my films.
I was in space but I could not see[edit | edit source]
I like this scene. I was eating sushi with my wife and kids and I remember thinking, "What if Mater was here? What would he do if faced with sushi? Would he eat it? How would he eat it?" Notice how we never animate Mater eating the wasabi, notice how we skipped that scene entirely. I wanted a 15-minute shot where Mater tries to put the wasabi in his mouth, and he uses his wheels, he uses his side mirrors, he tries to use the hook at his back to pick the wasabi up but he fails.
I wanted this scene in the film, I wanted to hear Larry the Cable Guy's grunts of irritation and indignation as Mater failed to put the wasabi in his mouth. And I would walk into the frame and spoonfeed Mater the wasabi. "Here you go," I would say, "Do you like being fed? Do you like food? Does it taste nice?" but then his tongue would burn and he'd speed off. This is what I wanted.
The face of divinity within the blackness[edit | edit source]
Look! We made the Japanese bartender slit-eyed. And we got away with it. We can get away with it.
Do you know how scary it is to live a life without consequences, with no one to tell you, "No, this isn't right, this isn't what we want"? The power gets to your head. I tell people and they do and it's unfair, but I love it. The power. The control I have over all the people working at Disney/Pixar. I could make their lives a living hell. I could save them from want forever. But I'm smart. I keep them in between. I keep them under my control. They will worship me.
Where is He?[edit | edit source]
You see the face of Mater, that is the face of fear and terror. I like that face. I like that his tongue is out. Do you know what Mater is thinking? Do you think he's saying, "Oh God! My tongue and nasal cavity are on fire!" No, he's not thinking about that. He doesn't think. He's not even real.
But I saw him the other day, I've seen him twice in fact. The first time, I was out buying groceries since my wife was sick, and out of the corner of my eye I swear that I saw Mater himself speeding across the street with wasabi in his mouth. I rubbed my eyes, but it seemed he was gone. This was especially interesting since this street had a Japanese restaurant, and they probably served wasabi there. I think to myself, "Wow, Mater was in my neighborhood, and he ate some wasabi here, he thought it was pistachio ice cream, and now he's running away! That's what Mater would do if he was in my neighborhood."
"This was probably all a fluke" I thought, just my imagination running wild like it usually does, but maybe Mater's out there right now, still looking for something to rinse the wasabi out. How cool would that be, wouldn't he be nice to talk to? Every chance I get I go to the Cars ride at Disneyland California Adventure Park, but it's just not the same. That day, I gave out even more wasabi Mater toys than I did usually. This was a sign. This was an important sign.
I cannot find Him[edit | edit source]
At night, I was in my living room sitting with my wife when Mater showed up again. He said, "I'm Tow Mater! You created me! You created me! Why did you create me? Now I will rust until the wind has driven the dust that was me into the air or deep into the ground. I am existence incarnate."
I wanted Larry to record what Mater said to me but he refused. And I thought, "Why?" I created Mater, I formed him in my mind, and I told everyone at Disney/Pixar, "Please put him on the big screen. I want to see his wheels on screen." I wanted to see him and they did what I asked, they could do nothing but do what I asked. I controlled them. I had the money, I had Iger's ear. I thought I could do anything. But I could never show the audience who Mater really was, there was too much money involved, and Disney didn't want to risk it, even if it meant compromising my artistic vision.
He is nowhere[edit | edit source]
This is a nice scene. Thanks for reading! And remember what Mater said, "Whatever you do, do NOT eat the free pistachio ice cream! It has turned!"
And he stays ignorant even when faced with the magnanimity of all horrors.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Cars — These are what the cars are! I modeled the cars in Cars 2 after real-life Cars!
- Disney — I work for them now! I was worried about Pixar's relationship with Disney, what would happen to my beautiful characters? It'd be like giving your dear children to some child molesters. Thankfully, everything worked out in the end, and now we can work on more and more films than ever before. Our animators love churning out sequels to great Pixar classics! More sequels, guys! I don't hear any animating going on! You want to go to DreamWorks and animate Po's belly fat in Kung Fu Panda 8? No? Then get back to work.
- Pixar — I own this company! I make your children laugh! Also, watch Toy Story 4! It'll be great!